Academics at NUI Galway have warned that the digital divide could have a major impact as eHealth becomes more widespread in promoting health and wellbeing.
Ahead of the 25th annual Health Promotion Conference at NUI Galway, the co-chairs of the event highlighted the need for ongoing research on the issue of unequal access to technology and digital information and services.
Dr Victoria Hogan and Dr Jane Sixsmith will chair the event next Thursday which will explore the use of eHealth in various settings such as the workplace, children’s health, mental health, and health promotion apps.
Dr Jane Sixsmith said that the increasing use of digital technology is an opportunity for the promotion of health but the challenge is the inequality in access as a result of the digital divide.
“As we further develop and use these technologies for health we must ensure equity of access,” said Dr Sixsmith.
Dr Victoria Hogan added: “Given the ubiquitous nature of digital technology in everyday life, and the increasing importance of technology for health, this is considered a priority area for both health promotion research and practice.”
The Health Promotion Conference will be attended by Frank Feighan TD and brings together leading academics, researchers, practitioners and policymakers working with eHealth.
Professor Margaret M Barry, Established Chair in Health Promotion and Public Health at NUI Galway, will moderate a live panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges of eHealth for health promotion.
Professor Deborah Lupton, SHARP Professor, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia will draw on projects she has led which have addressed people’s everyday experiences of digital health – from googling symptoms to using discussion forums, websites, social media groups, YouTube, apps and wearable devices. She will also touch on the future of digital health in Covid-19 times.